Magazine
Latest Issue

Mohammad Khatami

Is he an Andropov or a Gorbachev? Last May's presidential elections in Iran saw the unexpected victory of a liberal cleric, raising the hopes of reformers. But Fred Halliday explains how the country's religious and political constitution may inhibit reformist ambitions

By Fred Halliday   January 1998

On 23rd May 1997 something extraordinary happened in Iran. On that day’s presidential election, Mohammad Khatami, a cleric of liberal reputation, was chosen by 69 per cent of the voters (on a turnout of more than 80 per cent) to be the country’s next president. The event was extraordinary for two reasons: first, because of the broad range of people who voted for Khatami-the younger generation, women, non-Persians (who make up half of Iran’s population); second, because once the four candidates were in the race, a free choice was allowed. It is too early to say what the import of…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect